Richard Branson is celebrating today after a Virgin Galactic rocket plane reached the edge of space with a test passenger on board – the first tourist in space.
Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor, Beth Moses, joined pilots onboard SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity to evaluate the customer experience and cabin. She will train future space tourists.
The WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane took off after 8:00 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Then at around 44,000 feet, the SpaceShipTwo passenger craft was released and sent 55 miles above Earth, considered the edge of space.
British billionaire Richard Branson has more than 600 people from 58 countries who have laid down deposits to become a space tourist, including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber.
For $250,000, passengers will go on a 90-minute flight and be able to view the curvature of the Earth as well as experience a few minutes of weightlessness.